Former Hearts midfielder Stephen Simmons insists Craig Levein won’t care what fans think of him



Former Hearts midfielder Stephen Simmons reckons the supporters are quick to forget what Craig Levein achieved during his first stint in charge.

However, Simmons believes the former Scotland boss will not care one jot about what the Gorgie faithful make about his return as manager.

Levein, who has held the role as director of football for the last three years, was officially confirmed as Ian Cathro’s successor yesterday, although some supporters have reservations about the decision.

Retired playmaker Simmons worked under Levein for the entirety of his initial four-year reign and was part of the successful squad that finished third in the top-fight in successive seasons.

Levein also masterminded memorable victories over the likes of Bordeaux and SC Braga in the now defunct UEFA Cup, and a 5-1 thrashing of city rivals before departing for Leicester City in October 2004.

And Simmons insists the fans who are not convinced by Levein’s return as manager need not worry.

He said: “It’s aways the same way. People are quick to forget what he actually did at Hearts.

“I can assure you it won’t bother him one bit, it won’t bother him in the slightest.

“He will get on with it and he’ll do his own thing. I’m sure he’ll do well.

“I think he could get the team back on track, he knows the club inside-out, that’s why he’s in there in the first place.

“We had wins over the likes of Bordeaux and Braga in Europe and beat Hibs 5-1, all those games were brilliant and he knew how to set a team up to win a game.

“He played and knows the game, you don’t get a move to Leicester City or become the Scotland manager if you don’t do well at Hearts and don’t know what you’re doing.

“He’s had a good overview of what has happened and what needs to change, he’ll have an idea right away of what he needs to change.

“Give him a couple of weeks and I’m sure he’ll sort the players out because he used to do it with us as well.”

Simmons admits the current squad could be in for a shock after recalling how Levein clamped down on players who stepped out of line during his era.

He added: “All the players will probably fear him, because we all did. There will be no-nonsense, he’s a no-nonsense guy but he knows how to win games and he’s proved that.

“The big thing is the discipline and the respect the players will have for him. That will be the big thing, there will be no nonsense – put it that way.

“You had a respect for him because he had played the game and you feared stepping out of line because he would come down hard on you.

“But he would get the best out of the players, we had a good bunch then as well, which helped him.

“Him and (assistant) Peter Houston were really good and the results, league finishes and getting into Europe was proof.

“They’ll be as fit as a fiddle as well. That was one of the things he was into as so I’m sure the boys can look forward to a few running sessions.”